The stunning basin of freshwater that laps the shores of the Sierra Nevada has captured the hearts of millions of visitors over the years. Lake Tahoe is a magnetic force that brings people to Northern California and Nevada during the summer months to play in its water. A trip to the area is not complete without a day spent on the lake. From boating to watersports, the massive size and depth of Lake Tahoe make it the perfect place to try it all. Due to the popularity in the summer months, it’s advisable to book your boat rental in advance so you won’t miss out once you arrive.

Regions of Lake Tahoe

North Shore

The North Shore of Lake Tahoe offers picturesque scenery, where the water shimmers a brilliant blue and all the land surrounding is covered in green pine trees. This area of the lake is laid back, with a more relaxed atmosphere. It’s the perfect retreat for nature lovers who are looking to find peace over partying. Visit Kings Beach for shopping and indulging in great restaurants, or hike the Donner Summit for a spectacular view of Emerald Bay.

South Lake Tahoe

The southern portion of Lake Tahoe is famous for its span of sandy beaches, like El Dorado Beach and Pope Beach. It’s also where many of the ski resorts are, so winter sports fanatics flock to South Lake Tahoe during the winter months to shred on the mountains. The south side of Lake Tahoe is renowned for its resorts - here you can find buzzing nightlife and endless entertainment if you’re looking to enjoy more of the culture in addition to the nature of Lake Tahoe.

Boat and Water Sports Rentals on Lake Tahoe

Renting a boat for at least one day is a must while in Lake Tahoe. You can explore different coves, beaches, and regions by boat, stop at a restaurant on the lake for lunch, and spend hours cruising. Motor yacht rentals are an excellent way to see a lot of the lake during your stay, and you can cruise in pure luxury on one of these boats.  

For adventurous travelers, consider a day of river rafting on the Truckee River, the only outlet from Lake Tahoe that flows to the northeast. You can also try thrilling water sports like waterskiing, tubing, wakeboarding, and more. For a real dose of excitement, consider booking the new crazy water experience - flyboarding, where you’ll shoot out of the water on jetpacks!

Rent a ski boat if you’re traveling with water sports enthusiasts, you can opt to have all the equipment included for the perfect experience. These boats are designed to provide a great wake for water sports, and they offer a smooth ride for the driver and passengers on board. Another rental option for adventurous visitors looking to fulfill a need for speed is jet ski rentals. Zip around and fly through the waves on a jet ski with your friends, you’re sure to make memories you’ll never forget.

If you’d prefer boating Lake Tahoe at a leisurely pace, rent a pontoon. It’s perfect for big groups visiting the lake, as you can spread out and enjoy a picnic on board. Another option if you want even more space is a houseboat rental on Lake Tahoe - the perfect way to get everyone on board for a day of cruising.

Sporty travelers visiting Lake Tahoe will not be disappointed with the excellent offerings of paddle sports. Kayak or stand-up paddleboard rentals are the perfect options for fitness-focused travelers who want to get in a workout while they explore a stunning place. Paddle yourself along the shores of Lake Tahoe, soaking in all the natural beauty. Instead of a noisy motor, you’ll only hear the soft sounds of your paddle swooshing the water as you propel yourself.

Sailboat rentals and charters or sailing lessons, while you’re visiting Lake Tahoe, are unique experiences to have, especially if you’ve never sailed before. The conditions of the lake are perfect for beginner sailors - gentle winds and small waves, much more manageable than the open ocean. Book a sailing charter to learn about Lake Tahoe with a local captain who will show you the ropes.

For anglers and avid fishermen visiting Lake Tahoe, there are plenty of prime fishing spots. Book a guided charter or rent a fishing boat and all the equipment to set off on a day on your own. You’ll reel in fish like Brown and Rainbow Trout and Kokanee Salmon.

Boat Bag: What to Pack for a Day on Lake Tahoe

Because of its massive size, Lake Tahoe is a place you can spend an entire day (or several) exploring, which is why it’s a good idea to be prepared for cruising out of port.

Packing list

  • Sunscreen and hats. The sun here is potent, and with the reflection off the water, you can get burned if you’re not careful. Be sure to reapply after swimming. Consider purchasing eco-friendly sunscreen, so that you aren’t contributing any harmful chemicals into beautiful Lake Tahoe.
  • Beach towels and blankets.
  • Warm clothes. If you’re out boating for the sunset, the temperature can change dramatically, and you’ll get chilled on the boat.
  • Food and drinks. Be sure always to have a sober boat driver, and properly dispose of any wrappers or other consumable items so that they don’t make it into the water systems. If you don’t pack food but want to stop around the lake for a meal, head to waterfront restaurants like Jimmy’s Restaurant at the Landing, Blue Agave or Sunnyside to name a few.  

Off the Water

While on land, there’s plenty to do to enjoy the beauty that surrounds Lake Tahoe. The Sierra Nevada is home to endless opportunities for exploration and connecting with nature.

Emerald Bay State Park

Emerald Bay is a favorite spot among visitors to Lake Tahoe. You can access the park by the Rubicon Trail or other hiking trails. While exploring this stunning area, be sure to pass by Eagle Falls and the Vikingsholm mansion, two beautiful features of this state park.

D.L. Bliss State Park

Another state park near Emerald Bay that has gorgeous beaches and plenty of activities to enjoy is D.L. Bliss State Park. There are loads of nature trails to hike and enjoy, beach to spread out on for catching a tan or enjoying a picnic, and activities like scuba diving. Make sure to walk to the iconic Balancing Rock, a natural attraction on the trail.

Heavenly Mountain Gondola Rides

If you’re itching for an opportunity to see the beauty of Lake Tahoe from above, book a gondola to take into the mountains. It’s a breathtaking experience that offers panoramic views and an unforgettable ride. You can book your whole family in one cable car, so it’s a great way to make memories you’ll share with your loved ones.


Lake Tahoe is a gorgeous place to visit during a trip around the American West, or as a destination all on its own. There’s no better feeling than relaxing on a boat ride around the lake, soaking in all the natural beauty of this sacred spot between California and Nevada. Book a boat here during your summer vacation for an unforgettable experience. If you’re out boating on Lake Tahoe, be sure to tag us in your photos (@GetMyBoat) and use the hashtag #GetMyBoat!